Through Budget 2018, the federal government is aiming to ensure all Canadians have a shot at success, and the nation’s construction sector will play a part in that goal.
On Feb. 27, Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled Budget 2018: Equality + Growth: A Strong Middle Class.
The budget, which includes a deficit of $18.1 billion, aims to build an “equal, competitive, sustainable and fair” Canada.
“With this budget, built by and for all Canadians, we are tackling the challenge of equality head-on — asking tough questions, and beginning to provide solutions,” Morneau said.
“It’s a plan that puts people first, builds on the hard work of Canadians, and keeps us squarely focused on the future.”
Women in construction
Through Employment and Social Development Canada, Budget 2018 includes $10 million over three years to launch the Women in Construction fund.
The program builds on existing models that have proven to be effective in attracting women to the trades. Similar program models provide mentoring, coaching and tailored support, designed to help women progress through their training and find and retain jobs in the trades.
“A few weeks ago, the Prime Minister issued a challenge to the world’s business leaders. He said that there was a fundamental shift needed, that each of them could act on immediately,” Morneau said. “He was talking about hiring, promoting and retaining more women.”
As well, the government is launching the Union Training and Innovation Program. A key component of the program is supporting women to enter and succeed in the trades.
Rental Construction Financing Initiative
To encourage new rental housing, Budget 2018 includes a boost from $2.5 billion to $3.75 billion to the Rental Construction Financing Initiative over the next three years.
The financing initiative offers low cost loans of up to 100 per cent to construct rental housing. The added cash is intended to support projects that address the needs of modest and middle-income households that struggle in high-priced housing markets.
“To help more people find an affordable place to call home, we are working on innovative solutions, like the Rental Construction Financing Initiative that will build 14,000 new rental units across the country,” Morneau said. “This builds on our National Housing Strategy, which will create 100,000 new housing units and repair 300,000 housing units.”
The government also proposes to provide $113.6 million over five years to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to expand the Rental Construction Financing Initiative.
Noting a substantial gender gap in apprenticeship training, Budget 2018 includes $19.9 million, over five years, to create the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women.
Through the grant, women in male-dominated Red Seal trades would receive $3,000 for each of their first two years of training. This is in addition to the existing Apprenticeship Completion Grant of $2,000. About 90 per cent of Red Seal trades would be eligible for the new grant.
“We believe that Canada’s future success rests on making sure that every Canadian has an opportunity to work, and to earn a good living from that work,” Morneau said. “And that includes Canada’s talented, ambitious, and hard-working women.”